Yesterday, the approval of a powdered alcohol called “Palcohol” got a lot of media attention. You could add it to food. You could smuggle it into stadiums. You could snort it.
However, the story got a little ahead of itself.
An attorney at bevlaw posted the original item noting that the TTB, a division of the Treasury that approves all things alcohol at the federal level, had approved seven labels for Palcohol. The labels included “Powderita” and “Cosmopolitan” with the words “Just add water for an instant cocktail.”
When I checked the TTB site for label approvals yesterday afternoon, the labels were all listed as approved as of April 8 (good thing it wasn’t April 1 since it reads like an April Fool’s prank) yet were currently “surrendered.” I wrote Mark Phillips the developer of Palcohol and he told me via email that the “seven labels have been surrendered due to an issue with the fill level.” He added that he did receive a separate approval for the “formula” so, he says, “powdered alcohol is still approved…We’re still moving forward and will submit new labels.” The alcohol powder is derived from vodka and rum.
Mark Phillips is the author of “Swallow This: A Progressive Approach to Wine.” His web site claims that his television show “Enjoying Wine with Mark Phillips” is “one of the most-watched wine shows ever.” Episodes include microwaving and freezing wines.
Tom Hogue, a spokesman for the TTB, responded to a query from the Associated Press that the Palcohol labels were approved in error. Palcohol’s web site posts that gave up the labels through a “mutual agreement.”
It is unclear what led the Palcohol applicant to surrender the labels nor what made the TTB do a 180. But one thing is for sure: powdered alcohol donuts are still a ways off.
Gregg Popovich joked his pre-game press conference yesterday that the early start had put a dent in his wine consumption the night before.
You probably know that Popovich is one of the winningest coaches in NBA history who fosters team play that is unparalleled in today’s NBA. But you may not know that he went to the Air Force Academy and was stationed in California where he got into wine. He has a 3,000-bottle cellar and is a partner in A to Z Wineworks and Rex Hill in Oregon.
The Spurs won their early start yesterday. Given that they had the best record in the deep Western Conference, Popovich may well be the coach popping bottles after the Finals are over (they don’t call him “Pop” for nothing). Unless Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls can take it all!
Some wine news these days seems beyond parody because the headlines read as if they were ripped from The Onion. In honor of April Fool’s Day, here’s a smattering of recent wine stories–see if you can spot the wine spoof in our bluff the reader challenge.
A. The Wine Advocate is set to release new “luxury lifestyle” magazine entitled “100 Points by Robert Parker.”
B. James Suckling has a crystal wine glass marketed as “100 points.”
C. A “Miracle Machine” was touted, which would turn water into wine in three days.
D. The French Senate debated a motion to declare wine part of the national heritage.
E. An organic grape farmer in France may be jailed and fined for not using pesticides.
F. Hail has ruined the vintage at Hong Kong’s only vineyard.
G. The SF Chronicle ran a piece about the “eco-friendly” next generation of vintners who love deer hunting and Porsche racing.
H. There really is a line of wines branded as Wine for Dummies.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Such is the case with the so-called “Miracle Machine,” a $499 countertop appliance that claimed to make water into wine in three days. The story had legs and ran away faster than Usain Bolt since it was picked up by a huge number of media outlets: According to one account, 600 publications wrote about the machine and the articles were read 500 million times. Philip James was the public face of the project; previously, he headed Snooth and then Lot18, where he raised over $40 million from investors before closing various product lines, having staff reductions, and, ultimately, stepping down.
Now, James has admitted the project is a hoax. In a video on winetowater.org, he Read more…
So the latest “uncorking a wine bottle with a shoe” video is making the rounds on Facebook. I know because tons of people who aren’t that into wine has sent it to me. Apparently, I’m not alone as it topped 100,000 views in just a couple of days. Now in its sixth day on Youtube, it has 850,000 views. And media outlets such has the Telegraph, Daily Mirror, and Today.com are still writing about it.
In brief, Chateau Mirabeau in Provence put together a nicely done, 50-second clip (above) showing how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe in lieu of a corkscrew. Intrigued about this method a few years ago, I tried it myself–and found it to be a Croc. Nonetheless, I compiled the ne plus ultra posting about “opening wine with a shoe” videos. Consider it something to send back to your friends who have shown an interest in the subject.
Someone asked if this method will aerate the wine. I’m not sure about that. But it will doubtlessly give the wine a lot of sole.
Just catching up with this story…last fall, Rogue Ales in Oregon announced they had sourced a new yeast strain from an unusual place–the brewmaster’s beard!
Given the huge correlation between the hirsute and the hipsters, beard yeast could be the yeast El Dorado for “natural” wines. I guess the only question would be if it had to be labeled as such?